Tag Archives: morphine

The deadliest frog in the world

kermit pixabayAnd the deadliest frog in the world is….

NOT Kermit the Frog. Sorry. Although the idea of a nasty, Russian frog impersonating Kermit is pretty devious, neither Kermit nor the frog masquerading as him in the new Muppets movie hold a candle to the poison dart frog.

golden poison frog pixabayThe golden poison dart frog has enough poison to kill 10 people. It’s believed that their toxicity is related to their diet, as they consume insects that feed on poisonous tropical plants. The frogs absorb this poison and they’re able to secrete it out of glands on their backs when they feel threatened.

I’m definitely a frog lover, so this is fascinating to me! But even if you’re not a fan of these small amphibians, they may affect you more than you realize. By studying the venom of poison dart frogs, researchers are working to develop a synthetic compound intended for pain relief. This non-addictive, non-opioid drug is 200x stronger than morphine. Interested yet?

Frogs, snails, snakes, spiders, centipedes, slugs, and worms┬ámay make some people shudder, but the amazing things these animals are teaching us could make a huge difference to you and your loved ones! Some of the deadliest animals in the world helping with some of the deadliest diseases in the world? Unlike Kermit, that’s nothing to laugh at!

Oreos: Even rats can’t eat just one!

Photo from www.conncoll.edu

Photo from www.conncoll.edu

A research study at Connecticut College showed that high-sugar foods can stimulate the brain in the same way drugs do. In a study with rats, Oreos actually activated more neurons in the brain’s┬ápleasure center than cocaine or morphine did! So why is this significant? By showing that high-fat and high-sugar foods can be addictive, this may be able to shed some light on addictive eating habits in humans- and may give parents another good reason to limit sweets.

It’s important to note that they did not compare Oreos directly with morphine or cocaine. The results simply showed the similarity of the animals’ reactions and supported the theory that high-fat and high-sugar foods can have very addictive qualities. Similar results would likely have been obtained by using ANY high-fat/ high-sugar food, but Oreos were used because they are so popular (America’s favorite cookie!).

If given a choice, I would certainly give my child a package of cookies instead a bag of cocaine- but I will definitely be limiting the number of cookies from now on!


Centipede venom as a pain medication?

poison animal centipedeFrom copperhead venom to centipede venom, the applications of poisonous animals in research continues to amaze me. I find it fascinating that we can learn so much from these bizarre and unconventional animals!

It turns out that a component of centipede venom- the same component that centipedes use to paralyze their prey via the blocking of sodium channels- could have real applications as a pain medication that is more efficient than morphine. In mouse studies, it proved to be a more potent pain reliever than morphine, and had no adverse effects on heart rate, blood pressure, or motor function.

While further studies are needed to validate the safety of such a drug for humans, this could have real applications for those who suffer from chronic pain. Maybe these guys aren’t so creepy after all!